yellow oak

Quercus velutina Lambert

Black oak is another dominant forest tree of the southern part of the state, though not so valuable or so fast growing as northern red oak. It is usually found in gravelly soils, and on drier sites than red oak. The wood is hard, heavy, strong, but is not considered so valuable as red oak. It finds its chief use for ties, construction, and fuelwood.

Bark - on young stems smooth, dark brown in color, soon becoming dark gray to black, very rough, broken by deep furrows into thick ridges which are further divided by cross furrows; roughened especially at the base of trunk even in quite young trees; inner bark orange yellow in color, rich in tannin, yields a yellow dye.

Twigs - stout, reddish brown in color mottled with gray.

Winter buds - cone-shaped, sharp-pointed, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, covered with yellowish gray wool, clustered at end of twig.

Leaves - simple, alternate, 4 to 10 inches long and 3 to 6 inches wide, with 5 to 7 lobes, toothed, bristle tipped, separated by wide rounded clefts, extending over halfway to midrib; at maturity leaves thick, dark green in color and shining above, paler and woolly beneath (particularly along midrib).

Fruit - an acorn, borne singly or in pairs, with or without stalks, maturing in autumn of second year. Nut - reddish brown in color, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, enclosed about 1/2 its length in light brown cup. Meat - yellow, very bitter.

Distinguishing features - orange-yellow inner bark; leaf unbalanced, heavier on outer end, woolly along midrib beneath; acorn small, half enclosed in cup. Lower branches usually remain below half the height of tree.

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